Whole roasted vegetables are one of my favourite things. The long roast means there’s always a sweet, juicy centre and interesting textures and flavours on the edges. This recipe for whole roast swede (pretending to be ham) is inspired by eco-chef Tom Hunt. It makes a fun festive centrepiece and it’s delicious too! Not ham flavoured of course, but a celebration of the humble-but-hearty swede. These bulbous roots are a real Irish staple and they are well overdue their time in the limelight. Swede is slightly peppery and sweet and the mustard-maple glaze works wonderfully. Delicious served in slices alongside pickled red cabbage, roasted potatoes and winter greens. The vegetable and red wine bed makes a brilliant base for a veggie gravy too.
What are you serving for Christmas dinner?
1 bulb of garlic
4 bay leaves
2 stock cubes
a large glass of red wine
a large glass of hot water
whole cloves (approximately 50?)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
6 tbsp wholegrain mustard
6 tbsp maple syrup
Turn the oven on to 200C. Find a casserole dish with a lid that your swede will fit comfortably in (alternatively use a deep roasting dish and a sheet of foil or a baking sheet as a lid).
Start preparing your swede. Peel it with a potato peeler and trim off any unwanted bits with a large, sharp knife. Score it with shallow cuts, criss-crossing to make lots of diamond shapes. Using a toothpick or a skewer, push a hole into the centre of each diamond. Then push a whole clove into each hole to stud the surface of the swede.
Cut the bulb of garlic in half along its equator. Quarter the onions (leave the skin on) and the carrots. Put the vegetables in the casserole dish, these will impart lots of flavour to the juices in the bottom of the dish. Pour in the wine and hot water and crumble in the stock cubes. Add the bay leaves. Now place the prepared swede on top.
Drizzle the swede with the olive oil and season it with salt and pepper. Put the lid on and place the pot in the oven to steam-bake the swede for at least 1.5 hours (depending on the size of the swede) or until the swede is cooked through. You can test this with a skewer.
Remove the swede onto a clean baking dish. Mix the mustard and maple syrup together and brush half of it over the top and sides of the swede. Return it to the oven for 10 minutes. Then brush the remaining mustard and maple glaze over the swede and put it back in the oven for a final ten minutes. Then it’s ready to carve and enjoy!
Roasted Garlic & Red Wine, Onion Gravy
You can make a gorgeous gravy from the juices left in the casserole dish. Remove the carrots, bay leaves and onions skins. Squeeze out the garlic and remove the skins from the pot. Then use a whisk to blend the roasted garlic into the sauce.
Add 2 tbsp of cornstarch that has been mixed with 3 tbsp of cold water. Whisk it into the gravy and simmer and stir until the gravy is a good consistency. You may wish to add more water.
Add a generous knob of butter and taste the gravy for seasoning. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. I usually add a splash of soy sauce to enrich and darken the gravy too.
We haven’t grown them for quite a few years so we are delighted to let you know that our celeriac are back! Have you tried one? They’re a gorgeous winter root vegetable. Big and bulbous and full of flavour. Think a hybrid between a potato and a parsnip with a delicate celery flavour. These beasts are stunning in soups and stews, but they also lend themselves nicely to coleslaw, in fact raw, grated celeriac is really gorgeous tossed with a mustardy mayonnaise. I’ll tell you about that another day. But today I am eating celeriac in thick slices, fried like a steak in lots of butter. I LOVE a vegetable steak (cauliflower, portobello, butternut…), it’s a great way to really highlight a vegetable and focus on the flavour. Serve with mashed beans and roasted garlic for lip-smackingly delicious, filling, protein, some wintery greens like kale or cabbage and a creamy wholegrain mustard sauce. Quite a special dish, fit for a date night, but really not very complex to make as you’ll see below. Enjoy!
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 celeriac – peel with a small, sharp knife, then cut 4 thick slices out of the middle and save the ends for a soup
1 tin of butterbeans or cannellini beans, any white beans will work
1 whole bulb of garlic
kale or cabbage, as much as you like
1 heaped tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp corn starch or plain flour
oat milk – enough to loosen the pan juices into a thick sauce
butter, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat your oven to 200C. Pop a whole bulb of garlic (that’s right, the whole bulb, not just a clove) into a small, oven-proof dish with a drizzle of olive oil. Put it in the oven to bake until soft – around 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the celeriac as above, chop and rinse some greens (kale or cabbage go well here) and put them in a pot with a lid, some seasoning and some butter/oil on the hob. Drain some of the liquid from your tin of butterbeans and pop them into another small pan.
Get your widest frying pan (or use two) on to a medium heat and melt a generous knob of butter with a couple of tbsp of olive oil. Add the celeriac steaks and season well with salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally until they are softening and turning a gorgeous caramel colour. They should smell amazing!
When the celeriac are nearly cooked through, take the garlic out of the oven to cool slightly, turn the heat on under the pot of beans and the pot of greens. Cook both, stirring often, until piping hot. Then turn off the heat.
Put the celeriac steaks in a small dish in the oven to keep warm (turn the oven down to 150C so they don’t burn) whilst you make the mash and the sauce.
Pull apart the roasted garlic and squeeze the soft, fragrant flesh into the pan with the beans. Season well with salt and pepper, add a drizzle of olive oil or a knob of butter and mash the beans and garlic into a puree. Or use a stick blender if you’d like your mash extra smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
To the frying pan in which the celeriac steaks were cooked, add a tbsp of flour and a tbsp of wholegrain mustard. Whisk into the buttery, caramelised, celeriac juices that are left in the pan and add a splash of oat milk. Turn the heat up and keep whisking and adding milk until you have a silky, creamy sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper and now you are ready to serve.
Divide the greens and garlicky mash between two plates, add on the steaks then drizzle with the sauce. Have extra wholegrain mustard on the table and enjoy with a glass of wine or a cold beer.
The planning and preparation must begin now for the year ahead. We are still harvesting many of the root crops from last years planting which is providing us with good healthy Winter sustenance. January is the time of year that calls for hearty warm food, food that feeds both body and soul. Eating with the seasons fulfils something more primal than just hunger, innately it feels like the right thing to do.
‘Seasonal eating’, ‘carbon footprint’ and ‘climate breakdown’ – these buzz words are all linked. What we choose to eat has a massive impact on the environment. In these dark days, is it possible to choose seasonal sustainable food that will improve our wellbeing and maybe make these dark days seems that little bit brighter?
Whether you love sprouts or hate them they are the king of Winter vegetables and, like many of their Winter cousins, their taste is enhanced by cold. Carrots, parsnips, potatoes, leeks, cabbage green and red, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and swede are all amazing seasonal stars and our parents and grandparents would have enjoyed them all long before a red pepper ever graced our tables. The Irish climate has always favoured these crops, they thrive in low light and cold conditions and we seem to naturally gravitate to these foods in the colder months. This is all very good news for both us and the planet.
Although there is no arguing that food is a personal choice, is it possible that our individual freedom is coming into conflict with a personal and environmental health crisis? Our freedom to choose is limitless. But as we head into the new year, could we make a change and choose to be more mindful of where our food comes from? How it is produced? What is it packaged in? Breaking routines of convenience can be hard, we are all busy and it takes persistence, courage and discipline to maintain a new course, but if this year gone by has shown us anything, it is that routines can change overnight and new, better habits can replace them. Here are 5 achievable guidelines to help you tread a more mindful path with your food choices.
Eat Local, Seasonal, Organic Food – in supermarkets look at the country of origin, choose Irish. Visit farmers markets that sell local and if possible organic food. Get a box of seasonal organic food delivered by us.
Eat Less Meat – enjoy planet healthy whole-foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and grains. We have a great organic range of dried and tinned whole-foods in our grocery section.
Avoid Plastic Clad Produce – buy loose in the supermarket if possible. Leave the packaging behind in the supermarket. Did you know that all our set boxes are plastic free?
Cook From Scratch – this gives you more control over the source of your ingredients, and it can be very satisfying! Cook in batches which saves enormous amounts of time. We provide recipes in all our boxes and Liz over on our new blog provides easy to follow instructions to make great dishes.
Grow Your Own – Spring will be upon us soon, and this satisfying act can rekindle a very basic respect for our food.
Here’s to a brighter and more mindful new year!
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